Telstra News |

Changes to some of our stores

By Fiona Hayes June 1, 2020

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in some states, most Telstra stores that were closed in March are set to re-open.

From May 11 we will see 17 of the 23 closed stores open their doors once again to support the increasing number of customers visiting shopping centres across Australia.  

We have processes to help ensure social distancing continues in-store – such as floor markings and a limited number of people in-store at one time – and continues to have robust hygiene standards in place.  

You can check the list below to see if your local store will be open. To view operating hours, check the Telstra website 

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NSW – Now reopen

  • Burwood 
  • Broadway 
  • Blacktown 
  • Hurstville 
  • Macquarie Centre 
  • Liverpool 
  • Eastgardens (from 1 June)
  • Chatswood (from 1 June)
  • Mt Druitt (from 1 June)

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QLD – Now reopen

  • Coomera 
  • Indooroopilly 
  • Pacific Fair 
  • Queens St (136) 
  • Browns Plains 
  • Loganholme
  • Mt Gravatt   

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WA – Now reopen

  • 140 William St 

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VIC – Now reopen

  • The Glen 
  • Doncaster 
  • Northland 2 
Telstra News |

Seizing the opportunities after COVID

By Andrew Penn May 25, 2020

A word so-often used during the COVID-19 crisis has been “unprecedented”. Unprecedented in terms of the impact on the economy; unprecedented in the magnitude of the effect on our social and working lives; unprecedented in the level of uncertainty around how we best come out of this.

What is also unprecedented is the opportunity now for far-reaching reform. As social restrictions begin to relax, Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create and accelerate real change on the key issues that will shape our economy, our society and our future. Issues on which our progress to date has been too slow, too incremental. There is a window now to take significant steps forward which have the potential to dramatically change our future if we have the courage to make bold decisions.

So where should we focus? I see five key areas where there are significant opportunities:

1. Accelerating the digital economy;
2. Reforming telecommunications;
3. Protecting ourselves from cyber risks;
4. Building diversity; and,
5. Driving meaningful action on climate.

Firstly, we need to continue to accelerate the digitisation of the Australian economy. Even before COVID, digital technologies were rapidly changing the way we lived and worked in ways we could never have predicted. The forced isolation and social distancing measures during the pandemic has driven a huge acceleration in digitisation including in activities like tele-health, online learning, remote working and e-commerce. I believe that out of necessity we have achieved in three months what might have taken us five years to progress. As individuals we have been forced to become far more digitally savvy in the space of weeks and across our business we are seeing digital interactions with our customers increase dramatically.

What is important now is not to lose that momentum. Our response as a nation to the COVID lockdowns has seen us fast track a number of policy and regulatory changes, and we should be looking to embed and build on these reforms as we emerge from the restrictions.

A good example is tele-medicine which, during COVID, has emerged as an important channel for medical care at a time when visiting a doctor was often not possible. COVID has been an opportunity for the health sector to shift its mental model on the benefits of tele-health and get a better understanding of how easy, safe and effective the technology is.

An important enabler of this shift has been a change to the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS). For GPs in particular this type of universal access was never possible and we now consult with doctors, nurses, midwives and other health providers via a phone or video consult as a normal way of providing care. This is a perfect example of a valuable reform that should continue.

There is a huge opportunity to accelerate the digitisation of the economy by systematically removing roadblocks, replacing the need for paper with digital, moving to a cashless society. Many of the technologies already exist and clearly the opportunities are numerous we just need to seize the economic and social opportunities that digitalisation creates. The work of groups like the Business Council of Australia’s where I am chairing the Digital Economy and Telecommunications working group on COVID-19 Economic Recovery are important in this space.

Secondly, we need a long term strategy for telecommunications in Australia. COVID has once again underlined the critical importance of telecommunications networks. They have been the connective tissue during the lockdown period and if the acceleration of the digital economy is crucial to a fast recovery, which I believe it is, then telecommunications is now arguably Australia’s most important infrastructure to this digital recovery. It is also crucial therefore that we have the policies and regulatory framework fit for purpose and pro-investment for the sector.

If ever there was a moment for all of us to feel unconstrained by the shackles of the past, past decisions, past policies, past investments it is now. We sit at the dawn of 5G, the nbn rollout finishes next month, the emergence of edge compute – these are all significant technologies that will play a crucial role in supporting the digitisation of our economy.

How do we accelerate their roll out and remove barriers, what is the technology upgrade path for the nbn now the great milestone of its roll out is within grasp. How do we ensure people in regional and remote Australia can experience the same benefits as people in the major centres particularly at a time when living regionally is a more realistic option for those previously constrained by work to be living in the city. With the acceleration of the digital economy and online service provision how do we ensure our more vulnerable citizens can not just participate, but benefit from these changes?

These are all very big questions but I cannot think of a more important time to be asking them. The success of our telecommunications networks in Australia over the next decade will significantly influence the success of our economy and our nation. And it’s crucial that we have the policies in place to support them.

Thirdly, how do we use this period as an opportunity to improve our structural cyber defences? Even before COVID-19, cyber security was a large and growing area of risk that went to the very heart of the safety and security of the nation, of every family and business.

COVID-19 has amplified that risk because so many of us are now working and studying from home and so many of the things we used to do within the traditional firewalls of enterprises, governments and education institutions are now being completed from home over VPN’s. With this focus on the national picture, Telstra recently announced a Cleaner Pipes initiative to further reduce instances of customer data being compromised through malware, ransomware and phishing.

The Australian Government deserves real credit for the leadership it has shown on cyber security including the development of Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. With robust cyber security critical for national security as well as our economic growth and international competitiveness that work will only become more important as Australia continues to digitise post-COVID. I am pleased to be working with the government as chair of the Industry Advisory Panel to the strategy and we look forward to the key initiatives emanating from this work – they could not arrive at a more important time.

Fourthly, we need to seize this opportunity to build diversity. This is something our community has struggled to move the needle on for years despite huge efforts from groups like the Male Champions of Change. Telstra has long held the view that diversity adds enormous value to our organisation and one of the most important things we did some years ago was change our approach to flexible working. We started from the premise that most roles in the company could be done flexibly if we gave our people the tools and connectivity they needed to make working away from the office as seamless as being in the office. This has allowed people to choose when and if they came into the office and what worked best for them in avoiding peak periods and being able to do things like school pick-ups and drop-offs. This is particularly important for the participation of women in the workforce.

I am convinced we are a better organisation for it and I am convinced it put us in a better position when, over the course of single weekend, we had to move 25,000 of our Australian office-based staff to working from home during COVID. Even before COVID our office based staff were working from home on average 2.4 days per week.

We have also expanded new initiatives like our Agents@Home program where in just three weeks we expanded our trial to now allow more than 1500 contact centre staff to work remotely. This is enabling us to recruit outside of traditional urban areas. The speed with which these types of solutions have been developed during a pandemic has required bold thinking – as a company (and as a nation) looking to build diversity it is the type of agile thinking that will be required going forwards.

One of the key learnings from COVID has also been that the ability to work from home is not only important for organisations from a talent attraction, retention and cultural perspective it is actually one of the most important risk management and business continuity strategies we can have.

And fifthly, meaningful action on climate change. I think for many of us the COVID-19 period has provided something unexpected and deeply personal; a chance to experience firsthand a world that is somehow quieter, clearer, less frenetic and also a chance to reflect on the fragility of our world. It’s been a visceral experience.

In that context, if ever there was a moment for bolder and more significant action on climate change it is now. In a recent speech on responsible business I said climate change would be the defining challenge of the 2020s. If anything COVID has only strengthened that view. The science is clear and now our own experiences are proving it. Climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is creating risks that impact our economy, our environment, our communities and each of us individually.

Against that background, Telstra announced a significant acceleration in our response to reducing our impact on the climate earlier this year. As an organisation we are proud of these commitments in the context of the climate challenge we are facing. Changing the current trajectory on climate change – and meeting the defining challenge of the 2020s – will require bold and creative action along with decisive leadership and determination. The time for that is now.

A window of opportunity

Finally, there is also an important broader point to be made about the role and ongoing responsibility of business, particularly big business. The pandemic has seen a remarkable period of national cooperation, where many differences and agendas have been put aside for the common good. At Telstra our actions have included recruiting additional staff to putting on hold any further job reductions; from bringing forward $500 million of capex spend to providing relief for small business and consumer customers; from providing extra paid leave to shifting the majority of our workforce to full work from home arrangements. The point is it is impossible today to view business as independent from society and society rightly holds us more accountable than ever before for our actions. What we do and how we act matters.

COVID-19 has driven unprecedented disruption but has also created an unprecedented opportunity for far-reaching reform. The question for Australia now is what type of historical moment will this turn out to be? I for one am looking forward to a kinder, cleaner, more empathetic and prosperous world and I believe we have the opportunity to create it if we can continue to make bold decisions in the way in which we have during COVID. If we do our future generations will thank us.

Telstra News |

Supporting our customers during COVID-19

By Andrew Penn April 14, 2020

As people around Australia increasingly begin working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19, demand for connectivity is rising rapidly. To play our part, Telstra is giving our consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. We want to help our customers, who find themselves having to work from home, stay connected.

Update: We understand that the situation around COVID-19 is ongoing. As a result, we will be extending many of our consumer offers through to 30 June 2020. Please read below for additional details and eligibility criteria.

From Thursday 19 March we are providing our consumer and small business home broadband customers (ADSL, NBN and Cable) with unlimited data at no additional charge on their plan until 30 June 2020. The data, which will be provided automatically, will help facilitate videoconferencing; voice over Wi-Fi, and cloud connectivity, all important tools when working from home or in isolation.

We are also giving our consumer and small business mobile customers more data. Post-paid customers (both handheld and mobile broadband) can receive an extra 25GB of data on their plan to use in Australia within 30 days to facilitate the need for a more mobile workforce. Post-paid customers can apply for the extra data via our Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra Apps until 30 June 2020 and the data will be available within 24-48 hours.

We are also keeping those experiencing hardship connected. We are offering JobSeeker discounts to eligible customers, and those with a valid eligible Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card can take advantage of a new $30/month Value Mobile Offer. You can find more details on these offers on Telstra Exchange.

Eligible pensioners with a Telstra home phone plan will also be able to make unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles, from their home phone in Australia to make staying in touch with friends and family simpler. This is available from Thursday until the 30 June 2020.

We also have offers available to small business customers, including the ability to hibernate your business.

With data traffic increasing, we are encouraging customers to make use of the self-service tools available on the latest Telstra 24×7 apps for iOS and Android. This allow customers to check account information and pay bills while easing the burden on our call centres.

We are also making it easy for our customers to access more self-serve billing options to cater for the scenario they may have found themselves in via our new online self-service hub.

Via the online hub, Telstra customers can access options including:

  • Entering into a payment plan with Telstra.
  • Entering into an agreement to pay at a later agreed date.
  • Suspending any or all services for up to 90 days, and reconnecting free of charge at the end of that period or beforehand if they’re ready to do so.
  • Downsizing their plan if they can no longer afford the plan they are on.

COVID-19 is a global challenge, we are all affected, and we all need to play our part in the response.

From Telstra’s perspective, an important part of that is ensuring everyone has the tools they need to stay in touch and keep business flowing during this challenging time.

Things you need to know

Telstra’s FairPlay Policy applies to our unlimited broadband offer.

Pre-Paid Max/Extra/Plus/Freedom Anytime/Freedom Unlimited customers: Unused bonus data expires after 28 days and will not rollover.

Telstra News |

How we’re stepping up during COVID-19

By Telstra News April 8, 2020

Here’s a summary of all the things we’re doing to keep you connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can also find up-to-date information at our COVID-19 hub on telstra.com.au, and here on Telstra Exchange.

Our response to COVID-19

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‏‏‎For our customers:

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For small businesses:


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For our people and the community:

T22 | Telstra News |

Emerging from COVID-19 – fast, smart and connected

By Andrew Penn April 8, 2020

Here is an update that I shared today with Telstra employees.

Team,

As you know, I normally keep my communications short, but given the complexities of these unprecedented times I wanted to share with you all of the thinking, planning and actions underway.

Telstra has seen many crises over its long history and our crisis management procedures and approach is tried and tested. Bushfires, floods, cyclones all take their toll on our networks and systems and our people work tirelessly to make sure the country and our customers stay connected. Indeed our crisis management team has been stood up for most of the summer, due first to the devastating bushfires that swept the Eastern states, and since in response to COVID-19.

One of the most challenging things about the COVID-19 crisis is staying clear-headed about managing our response while living through it personally. We are all affected, whether it is concern over elderly parents and grandparents, concern for job security, grief over a way of life lost or fear of the virus itself and what it may mean. It would be naïve to think that our own responses and leadership are unaffected by the impact of COVID-19 on us personally, so let us be kind to each other during this time.

Indeed, as new social distancing restrictions and forced isolation has come into effect, remaining connected has never been more important. Connected to our families, connected to our friends, connected to our studies, connected to our work, connected to the people and things we love. In only a few short weeks we have moved to a world where working, learning, celebrating, grieving and connecting socially online is the new norm.

As an organisation responsible for enabling so much of this connectivity, and as one of Australia’s largest companies, we are living this crisis on the front line. Like many Australians we are stepping up for our communities and for this I want to say thank you.

If we ever needed proof about the role of big business in our lives, in our communities and in our society, it is playing out in front of us right now. Telecommunications, technology, power, food supply, logistics, healthcare – so many businesses in so many sectors on which we all depend being challenged to the extreme but stepping up.

Unknowing of what we were about to face, just eight weeks ago I spoke to an audience in Melbourne about responsible business and what it might mean in the 2020s. I spoke about the role big business in particular plays in our society and why it is so important. I spoke about how it is impossible today to view business as independent from society, particularly big business. Society is rightly holding us more accountable than ever before for our actions. What we do and how we act therefore matters.

It is against this background that I wanted to share an update on how we have responded to the COVID-19 crisis so far and how we are adapting our plans and beginning to think of the post-COVID-19 period.

Playing our part in a time of crisis

In these extraordinary circumstances we have challenged ourselves to look beyond just our role in keeping people connected but what more we can do for our people, for our customers and for our economy.

To support our people our first step was to give you certainty and security. As you are aware, we have been on a major and necessary transformation as we had been responding to the changes in our industry structure with the NBN. One of the challenging aspects of that transformation has been a significant but necessary reduction in our workforce. However, given the current environment we put on hold any further job reductions over the next six months to give our people certainty at a time when they need it most. In fact, to help manage call centre volumes we announced three weeks ago that we would be recruiting another 1,000 temporary roles in Australia and today we increased that by another 2,500, to a total of 3,500 joining us or our partners.

Many of these people have been laid off from other companies and we are really pleased to be able to offer them an opportunity at a critical time.

In addition to employment, we were the first major company to introduce a new global epidemic and pandemic leave policy for our people in Australia, including paid leave for our casual employees. To support our more than 25,000 people now working from home we have provided additional mobile data to assist if at any stage they needed to use their own data to stay connected.

These are challenging circumstances and I am also conscious our customers have significant issues contacting us at the moment. As well as bringing on more people we continue to look at ways to address these issues including diverting internal employees to help with this demand as well as offering self-service options. Rest assured, along with your health and safety, we are working around the clock to improve our customer services to keep Australia connected.

To support our customers we are providing unlimited data for home and small business broadband customers, extra data for consumer and small business mobile customers and free unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls and calls to Australian mobiles for pensioners on landlines. For our small business customers we are providing free or heavily discounted access to specialist online digital business tools and discounted mobile broadband plans to help them rapidly move their business online. We have also launched our new My Telstra App to allow customers to increasingly self-serve rather than calling us, and for those consumer and small business customers unable to pay their bills we have suspended late payment fees and disconnections until at least the end of April.

Today we are announcing a range of additional support measures to help keep people connected at this challenging time.

For those on the JobSeeker benefit, we will offer a discount on their existing services to relieve some of the burden. Those with a fixed connection or multiple mobile services can receive $20 off their bill, while others with a single mobile service can receive $10 off their bill. The offer will be available from 20 April for a period of six months. We have also launched a new $30/month mobile offer for anybody with a valid Healthcare card. The offer includes unlimited national calls and texts, no excess data charges and peace of mind data shaped after 2GB.

We are also supporting small businesses and from today we are offering small businesses with a 10-digit account number who have had to cease trading the option to suspend their fixed business services until they need them reinstated. We will also divert their affected fixed business phone services to another fixed or mobile service of their choice, regardless of the carrier, at no cost for the period the suspension is active.

As we announced yesterday, we are proud to be doing our part in helping to bridge the gap by providing 20,000 disadvantaged students and teachers across the country with internet access to educational content to support their online learning through the Department of Education and Catholic Education.

As previously announced, to support the economy we have brought forward $500 million of capex from the second half of FY21 into this calendar year providing the economy with much-needed investment at this time. We will be deploying this capex to increase capacity in our network and accelerate further the rollout of 5G among other key projects supporting the digital enablement of our customers’ businesses and operations. Other measures include extending all our many sponsorships expiring this year for another 12 months and accelerating payment terms for small businesses in the short term as we move to 20-day payment terms by 30 June 2020.

That is today, but what of tomorrow?

Re-focussing our work, effort and resources

Since the start of COVID-19 Telstra’s primary focus has been on protecting the health and safety of our employees, helping our customers stay connected, and playing a role in contributing to the national response. The prospect of expanded and ongoing restrictions means we must all now accept we are in a new reality and we have to pivot our operational approach from crisis management to a more sustainable model – not business as usual – but a version that retains the flexibility to respond to the very dynamic environment we are now in.

Our T22 strategy was launched two years ago and we have been making good progress as we approach its midpoint. At its heart the strategy is premised on radically simplifying our business and removing customer pain points, digitising and moving customers to digital channels, simplifying our structure, introducing new ways of working, establishing InfraCo and leaving our legacy behind.

Since the beginning of the program we have reduced 1800 consumer products to just 20 whilst eliminating excess data charges on new plans and other fees. We have built new digital technology stacks enabling a more than doubling of digital interactions with our customers. We have introduced new technology solutions for our small business and enterprise customers enabling them to operate online at scale. We have removed three layers of management and moved 10,000 people to agile ways of working. We were the first telco to launch 5G here in Australia and one of the first globally, and we have continued to maintain our clear technology and 5G leadership with 5G coverage in selected areas in 32 cities and regional areas across the country.

The principles and initiatives that sit at the heart of our T22 program are exactly those that are helping us respond to this crisis. Indeed they are exactly those that we will need to support our customers and to be successful in this new reality.

Notwithstanding the veracity and relevance of our strategy to this new emerging reality we are also looking at how we focus our work, effort and resources particularly over the next 3-6 months in response to the challenges COVID-19 presents all of us. In so doing there are five key priorities that are driving all of these decisions.

  • Firstly, protecting our people’s health, safety and wellbeing – ensuring we support the parts of our workforce working from home and those still on the front line both practically and emotionally;
  • Secondly, keeping our customers connected and prioritising essential services;
  • Thirdly, building more capacity and flexibility into our network to manage demand from home-based working and education to meet the changing connectivity needs of our customers and leveraging our mobile leadership;
  • Fourthly, securing our financial stability so we are future-ready – while we have a role to play in supporting our people, our customers and the economy we also have a responsibility to ensure Telstra stays strong; and,
  • Fifthly, ensuring that we emerge from COVID-19 with strong growth potential from our core business. This includes new opportunities such as Telstra Health where we are providing additional funding to leverage our existing investments in digital technologies that support electronic prescriptioning, electronic medical records in hospitals and aged care, telemedicine where our volumes have tripled over recent weeks, and national registries which can play a crucial role in disease management.

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The final piece for us is recognising we are in a new reality and we have to adjust our operating approach to this.

Adapting quickly

Looking further ahead, the lessons from history are that the economy post-crisis always looks very different to the economy pre-crisis. It will change because people will change their behaviour. Many people will stay working from home, the adoption rates of banking, shopping and schooling online will increase faster than we have ever seen before and the new ways of socialising online will become permanent features of our lives.

Those ideas will roll on through the economy, through the supply chain, through every part of business and society and bring change in the strategies, the skills and the tools needed to work and live effectively in a connected world. So we must take our new ways of working and embed them forever in a new operating cadence that can support the long term sustainable investment so crucial to telecommunications yet flexible enough to pivot in real time as the world around us continues to change dramatically.

A moment to grieve but with an optimistic heart

I am sure all of us have been shocked at the incredible suddenness in which our world has been turned upside down. We are all concerned about the health and safety of our families, our workmates, our friends. And I am sure we are all also worried about the impact on our local communities; the shops, restaurants, coffee shops and sporting and cultural events that are so much a part of our lives.

Telstra traces its origins back more than 150 years – through many crises and cycles of change – and our focus all along has been to connect Australians to each other and the world using the best technology available. That focus has not changed but the world has again and we must too – faster than we ever have before.

I have always believed organisations, like people, show their true character in times of crisis. I could not be prouder of the way everybody at Telstra has risen to what is an extraordinary challenge on a global scale. You have responded amazingly as you have done in previous crises, such as the bushfires only a few weeks ago. It is you – the people at Telstra – that makes our company what it is. Again, thank you for commitment and helping serve our customers in this extraordinary time.

It is also the people of this country that will see us through this current crisis and to a better world beyond.